Before we tackle the question of: What does criminologists do let’s just quickly see when modern criminology developed and how it fits into what they do.
Criminology developed through the study of sociology in the 19th and 20th century and although criminology is a relatively new field humans throughout history had to learn to deal with crime.
Criminology is the line between sociology and law enforcement. They study the patterns of criminal behavior, which explain why the crime was committed and the nature of the crime. A criminologist is crucial for law enforcement agencies to help apprehend criminals and help prevent similar crimes.
The core tasks of a criminologist is as follows:
Research – Criminologist do a lot of research on statistics, identifying patterns, demographics, and locations.
Writing of Academic Papers and field manuals – Criminologists write research papers and articles which are used as manuals to identify specific types of serial killers. The focus of the research is on family life, behavior, mental state, and social status and environmental factors of a serial killer.
Interviews – As part of a criminologist job, they interview serial killers to learn about their mindset and motivation for killing.
Physical crime scene inspections, and present at autopsies. – They visit crime scenes and can be present when autopsies are conducted to get insight into the mind of the serial killer.
Testify in Court – As experts in the field of criminal justice they can be an expert witness in court.
Processing of Data and writing reports – Criminologist needs to process large quantities of information and therefore need good organizing skills.
Improvement of policing – A criminologist is also responsible for improving police activities through community- orientating policing and predictive policing
To be effective, criminologists need to have the following skills:
Communication skills – They interview a lot of criminals and have to work with different law enforcement agencies and need excellent interpersonal communication skills. Criminologist needs good writing skills as they write reports that can ultimately lead to the apprehension of a criminal or serial killer.
Criminologist mostly works in an office environment, but when they work for large law enforcement agencies they do travel. Criminologist can work for state and federal governments, policy advisory boards, and legislative committees and in some cases privately funded think tanks.
Criminology is a science but, there is an art to it, they need to be able to zoom out of the figures and facts and see the bigger picture and in some cases it is necessary to think outside of the box. Criminology needs to apply the data creatively through the lenses of economics, politics, and race.
To be a criminologist you need to have analytical skills and statistical skills. A criminologist has personal integrity and interest in welfare and human behavior.
To become a criminologist you need to have a master’s degree or a doctorate and in some cases they become university professors. A criminologist is academically driven with years of study.
Another field in criminology is the Forensic Psychologist, typically you need a master’s degree or doctorate in psychology in addition to any undergraduate degree earned.
Forensic Psychology jobs includes:
- Criminal Profiler
- Jury Consultant
- Prison Psychologist
- Expert Witness
- Psychological Investigator
So if you ever wondered what do criminologists do, now you know 🙂